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Stay near the British Museum and you may see your hotel rate rise
Paris. Rome. Athens. Europe is a continent of hotel taxes – those extra couple of euros tacked onto your stay that go direct to the city – but one place has held out. Until now.
Camden Council in London is considering charging a £1-a-night tax on hotel stays, in order to raise £5m annually to be used for street cleaning in its tourist areas (Camden Town, St Pancras, and even Bloomsbury, around the British Museum).
Hotel Fees / Hotel Policies / Cancellation Policies / Marriott International / Hilton Worldwide / → All Tags
Typically, guests would have until 6pm the day of arrival to cancel their reservation without charge. But starting on January 1, you need to cancel your reservation the day before your scheduled arrival, otherwise you will be charged for one night's room rate. You can read Hilton's reservation rules here and Marriott's online booking terms here. Both sites still cite the individual hotel/deal's cancellation policy rather than a blanket company policy.
Still, we always thought that canceling the day before or at least 24 hours before was actually the normal window for penalty-free hotel cancellations but we guess some hotels were more loosey goosey with cancellations.
Or perhaps Marriott and Hilton were searching for new ways to turn a profit because WiFi is now mostly free?
In August, we were completely pissed off that a hotel outside New York City posted a note on their website about how they would charge guests $500 for leaving a bad review of the place on any online review website. After the policy made national news, the owner backed down saying, "it was just a joke." Of course, we don't believe it was a joke but regardless, the terrible policy has inspired another hotel to do the same thing.
The Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England actually charged two guests 100 pounds for writing a negative review of the hotel online where they called the place a "dirty rotten stinking hovel run by Muppets." (Hey now, no need to involve our beloved Muppets.)
Unbeknownst to the guests, the hotel included their "No bad reviews" policy in the booking documents. Here's what it says:
"Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. "For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."
Man. This hotel must be raking in money. Go to TripAdvisor and check out all the terrible reviews of the place. It really is a dirty rotten stinking hovel. Following up on this, The Daily Mail pulled some photos from TripAdvisor to further show off the hovel and they are frightening. Doesn't the hotel have health standards it needs to abide by?
However, there will be happy ending. Word is the couple will have their money refunded and the hotel will stop enacting the policy. Now, all it needs is a renovation and for someone to remove those dirty socks from the nightstand drawer.
There's been a lot of talk about hotel fees here lately. We've run down the most annoying fees and we've even had our front desk man weigh in on how to argue your way out of those fees. But now, we've learned of another outrageous fee--for using your credit card. A pretty peeved reader writes in:
Profil Hotels operate the Copenhagen Plazaand on check out charge 5% for paying by credit card. You are not told on checkin that you'd be charged. Incidentally this is unquestionably the worst hotel I've ever stayed in.
We inquired of peeved reader if this was a foreign transaction fee, which is common for U.S. credit cards holders charged by their banks, but he told us that on the folio, it simply reads "Credit card fee." Grrr.
Hotel Fees / Resort Fees / Miami Beach Hotels / Miami Hotels / Miami Hotel Mambo / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
While we're on the topic of hotel fees, we've just learned that the Ritz-Carlton South Beach will start charging a $25 resort fee, per night on October 1. Here's what will be included with that extra $25 + tax a night.
· Complimentary 5mb wireless Internet access for up to 5 devices in guest rooms, lobby and most common areas.
· Beach chairs and umbrellas
· Beach Activities including boogie boards, skim boards, beach paddle tennis, bocce ball and corn hole court
· One hour daily fitness class
· 24-hour access to fitness center
· Use of hotel bicycles
· Unlimited local calls
· Bottled water in guest rooms
· Access to daily tour of the hotel’s art collection
Well, at least it includes internet on multiple devices.
Resort fees in South Beach are actually quite common. We stumbled across one at The Surfcomber, a Kimpton Hotel, last fall. For $20 a night, you get morning coffee, two beach chairs, poolside amenities like sunscreen and flavor-infused water and a $10 F&B credit.
Hotel Fees / Front Desk Tips / Aditya Rajaram / Tips / Hotel Pet Peeves / Hotel Front Desks / → All Tags
Our former front desk guy has given valuable tips on effectively complaining to the front desk when something goes wrong. Now, he's got a few tips on getting around those pesky hotel fees that pop up from out of nowhere on your bill.
Hotels have been notorious for offering "convenient" products and services, then finding a way to tack on the extra charges to your hotel bill before you leave. According to a recent report, those fees will total up to $2.25 billion for hotels in the U.S. for this year alone.
While some fees and surcharges are unavoidable, i.e. the infamous Javits Convention Center tax in NYC and state and municipal taxes, there are other fees that aren't always clearly marked, like that daily newspaper charge that is actually optional or the pool towel fee that isn't listed anywhere except in small print at the bottom of a sign far away from the pool entrance.
Here are some ways to ensure you avoid these fees and if they are unfairly charged, how to get them removed:
Every so often, the mainstream media gets fired up about hidden hotel fees. This usually happens when it's revealed how much hotels are making off these miscellaneous yet maddening fees. This year it will be about $2.25 billion, according to a new NYU report.
Us, being both regular hotel guests and hotel trend watchers, have become somewhat accustomed, but no less outraged, to the random fees that pop up during a hotel stay.
Back in 2010 we detailed 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees, included the heinous WiFi charges, the confusing room service charges and the annoying resort fees.
The next year, we followed that up with 5 Hotels That Are Acting Like Airlines with Extra Fees and made it clear we did not like the fees for making a reservation over the phone, nor the early check-in fee and certainly not the baggage storage fee.
Just last year, we uncovered more hidden fees, including the fee for the bottled water on the night stand, the towel at the pool and the safe in the closet. And soon after that, we were blindsided by a random newspaper charge. #GRR. Most recently, we uncovered another sinister type of fee creeping around London, the minimum spend fee during peak hours at the bar.
But hotels want to make money, so fees for things you would expect to be free have long been how they do business. The only way to avoid these fees is to assume that everything you use inside your hotel room, save for the water, towels, and toiletries, will cost extra. Study the little notes placed around the room by the hotel, whether it be the mini-bar menu, or the note about WiFi placed on the desk, to see if there is a charge and how much it will be.
And of course, if a fee pops up unexpectedly on your bill, head right down to the front desk to dispute it. Just make sure you know how to effectively complain to them.
[Photo: Cynthia Drescher/HotelChatter]
Talk about annoying. After a long journey, you finally check into a luxury hotel and are handed your room card and minibar key. All is well, and for the $250+ late summer rate you're paying at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, the room comes with a lovely view and an enviable waterfront location. Still, something is amiss.
24-Hour Hotel Stays / Phoenix Hotels / Hotel News / Resort Fees / Hotel Fees / Ben Bethel / → All Tags
You may actually get to enjoy the pool at The Clarendon now.
Just the other month, we were all hopped up on a new hotel trend, 24-hour hotel stays, wishing, hoping, praying that more and more hotels would start offering this. And guess what? One hotel in Phoenix has.
The friendly, independent and social media savvy, Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix just launched this option a week ago, making the announcement on Facebook. Starting this month, the hotel has been allowing all one-night bookings to be 24-hour full-day stays. So if you check-in at 7pm, you don't need to check out until 7pm the next day. Best of all, the hotel is not charging any extra. We found rooms next week for $109 a night for either the Best Available Rate or the 24 Hour Room. And rates were super affordable too, at $109 a night.
We all know that early check-ins at hotels are elusive. It all depends on a few things--how full the hotel was the night before, how fast the other guests get their belongings together and out the door and how quickly housekeeping can get in there and turn over the room.
We typically have good luck with early check-ins during the week and at huge hotels that don't always sell out like the big casino hotels in Las Vegas (mid-week of course, definitely not on a Friday or a Sunday.) But if that doesn't work, then we have to find ways to kill time in the hotel lobby, or the nearby area, for a few hours until the 3pm check-in time. Unless we want to pay extra for it with an early check-in fee.
We first noticed early check-in fees back in 2011 when we compared hotels to airlines, thanks to all the extra fees they were tacking onto hotel stays. But we've never actually seen them in the wild.
But at Caesars Atlantic City we saw this sign at check-in.
We know there have been lots of complaints about the resort fees that have popped up in recent years, those pesky room-rate increasers that drive up the price and seemingly add very little to the experience. The hotels explain this by insisting that it helps to pay for things like local phone calls, in-room safes and mini fridges –- things that used to and should be included in the regular room rate. Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas even put out a load of PR BS about how "guests asked for them."
To that, we tend to roll our eyes. Personally, we’d rather hotels just increase the base rate instead of using the resort fee to help them advertise what turns out to be a misleading rate.
That all said, we always try to keep a good head on our shoulders and a positive attitude, so we did some digging. What we found is that while all resort fees are annoying, some aren’t as worthless as others. It still doesn’t make them a joy to pay, but at least, in some places, we are getting something in return that might actually save us a few dimes elsewhere. Think access to spas, yoga sessions, scuba classes, green fees, complimentary appetizers, and shuttle services.
Lounging at this oasis in the middle of the desert will cost you an extra $30 a night.
We've compiled a list of desert hotels that are adding an extra charge, per night, plus tax for things that you would normally expect to be free with your hotel stay (Use of the "computer center"? Uh, no thanks.) However, you do get more of your money's worth at the bigger golf and spa resorts where they offer bag storage, shuttle service and exercises classes.
What's even more frustrating is that some of these hotels don't list their resort fee anywhere on their websites until you get to the final step of the online booking process. But hopefully, our list will help you be better informed about your desert getaway. And for what it's worth, most of these fees do include WiFi.
Know of a resort fee in Palm Springs that we missed? Let us know and we'll add it to the list!